On Campus

Budget 2009: 'A very dark day for big science'

Genome Canada shut out of 2009 budget; thousands of jobs and medical research at risk

From The Globe and Mail:

The only agency that regularly finances large-scale science in Canada was shut out of Tuesday’s federal budget, putting at risk thousands of jobs and some of the most promising medical research, and forcing the country to pull out of key international projects.

For the first time in nine years, Genome Canada, a non-profit non-governmental funding organization, was not mentioned in the federal budget and saw its annual cash injection from Ottawa – $140-million last year – disappear.

“We got nothing, nothing, and we don’t know why,” said a stunned Martin Godbout, Genome Canada president and CEO. “We’re devastated.”

Last night, Steve Scherer, a world-renowned geneticist with the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, whose Genome Canada grant helps support 70 employees, said he was “still hoping that someone just forgot to put it in [the budget].

“If this is indeed true, this is a very dark day for big science, not only in Canada but also worldwide, because of the many leadership roles our country’s scientists have assumed in groundbreaking projects over the past few years. It’s definitely two steps back with no shoes on.”